Tag Archives: insurance

Surprising pro-life wins in CROmnibus

House Speaker John Boehner Holds Weekly News Conference

You’ll recall that in August the California Department of Managed Health Care issued a mandate requiring all insurance issuers to immediately add surgical and RU-486 abortion coverage to their plans, even those for nonprofit religious institutions and churches.

This was a violation of the decade-old Weldon Amendment, one of several pro-life riders included in appropriations bills every year. The Weldon Amendment blocks government agencies receiving federal funds from discriminating against any health care entity for not covering abortions.

The only recourse for victims seeking protection under the Weldon Amendment is to file a complaint with the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services.

In late August and early September that is exactly what two Catholic universities and seven churches in California did.

But to date HHS has taken no action, and the violation is ongoing.

Because the Obama administration has failed to enforce the Weldon amendment, pro-life leaders have pressed to enact the Abortion NonDiscrimination Act, which would make the Weldon amendment permanent and offer judicial recourse for victims impacted by the violation.

Pro-lifers in Congress tried to insert ANDA into the Continuing Resolution Omnibus appropriations bill, i.e., CROmnibus, which will fund the government through September 2015 (except DHS, which is only funded until March, so the GOP can revisit Obama’s immigration executive order after the new legislative session begins, at which point Republicans will control both houses).

But with many Republicans opposing CROmnibus for other reasons, it needs Democrat votes to pass and must also pass the Democrat-run Senate.

Since both parties are loathe to risk shutting down the government over the budget, pro-lifers behind the scenes were instead able to squeeze verbiage into the Explanatory Statement noting the complaints and directing the HHS Secretary to take action.

This is a step toward obtaining relief for the victims of the California mandate and warning other states considering similar action (like Washington) Congress takes the Weldon Amendment seriously. It reads:

Healthcare Provider Complaints. Legislation appropriating funding for the Department of Health and Human Services has carried a general provision relating to health care providers since fiscal year 2005 (Division H, Section 507(d) of Public Law 113-76). Complaints regarding reported violations of these provisions have been filed with the Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Health and Human Services. The Secretary is directed to respond to these complaints expeditiously in accordance with final rule 45 CFR Part 88 published in Federal Register Vol. 76 No. 36.

What this does is put the HHS Secretary (and other states that might want to follow California’s lead) on notice that Weldon is a law that Congress – including the Appropriators – take very seriously.

HHS now has a little time to actually enforce Weldon, but the next appropriations cycle starts in a few months, and this language shows that Congress is not going to let California’s action’s slide.

A source on the Hill noted in an email, “A LOT of work went into pulling this off, and I was actually impressed that they got the report language in.” Again, Democrats as well as Republicans had to agree to this language before it was inserted.

downloadPro-lifers in Congress will still work to pass ANDA next year easier without Harry Reid blocking everything.

Pro-lifers were also able to add an Explanatory Statement noting the shroud of secrecy surrounding Obamacare-approved insurance plans that cover abortions and directing the HHS Secretary to provide transparency.

The explanatory statement agreed to by both Republicans and Democrats calls for transparency BEFORE enrollment… huge.

It’s not just that pro-lifers care only about transparency, the explanatory statement gives them opportunities to address the issue of abortion coverage under Obamacare. This is no fix for sure, but it’s a move in the right direction.

Additional information on CROmnibus for pro-life budget wonks:

  • Funding for the UNFPA remains the same as FY14: $35 million
  • Funding for International Family Planning/Population Control Activities remains the same as FY14: not less than $575 million
  • Title X Family Planning Program remains the same as FY14: $286 million

[Top photo via Getty; bottom photo via Salon]

Attempt to hide abortion behind contraception an epic fail

abortion contraception

In a November 26 Washington Post essay, political scientists John McTague and Melissa Deckman reported news of epic proportions to pro-lifers while dissecting why the “war on women” meme bombed in the 2014 Midterms:

Democratic campaigns mistakenly conflated abortion and government-mandated insurance coverage for birth control, even though voters view these two issues through different lenses. In short, Democrats fundamentally misunderstood why there is a gender gap in American politics in the first place.

Attitudes about the size and scope of government – not abortion – are what drive the gender gap. Women are more likely than men to believe that the federal government should provide assistance to the poor, in part because women are disproportionately likely to be recipients of such government aid.

However, as the Udall ad… illustrates, the rhetoric of the “war on women” often fuses the separate issues of insurance coverage for birth control with abortion rights, treating both as “culture war” issues, and this is not how most voters perceive the issue.

As our research shows, attitudes about abortion and attitudes about government-mandated insurance coverage for birth control are not strongly related. Americans view abortion largely as an issue of personal morality, akin to other “culture war” issues, such as gay rights and marijuana. By contrast, insurance coverage for birth control taps into attitudes about economic opportunity and the proper size and scope of government.

This news is big because it strikes at the very strategy abortion proponents were pinning their hopes on to entice both women and Millennials, key demographic groups whose support of abortion is flailing, as noted by pro-abortion Sarah Kliff at WaPo in 2012 (and NARAL back in 2010):

[T]he White House sees… a chance to widen the reproductive health debate beyond abortion to issues like contraceptives, winning over key demographics of independent voters in the process… young voters and women…

These voters have tended to be difficult for abortion rights supporters to engage on reproductive health issues like abortion. Research from NARAL Pro-Choice America, which I wrote about last weekend, found a significant “intensity gap” there, with abortion rights supporters much less likely to see it as a crucial voting issue than their anti-abortion counterparts.

But when the conversation moves away from abortion to contraceptives… the intensity gap flips: A much larger segment of voters are willing to penalize a legislator who votes to defund family planning.

Hence, the entire “war on women” strategy, which clearly flopped last month. McTague and Deckman weren’t sure it was ever a success.

NARAL_logo2The important take-away is abortion proponents thought they found a winning issue – contraception – to leech the losing issue of abortion to, but they were wrong.

Both Millennials and women still separate the two in their minds – even after being pounded by millions of dollars of advertising – deeming abortion a moral issue they’re not necessarily crazy about and contraception an economic issue they’re not necessarily flocking to the polls to support.

Not that I don’t think the other side will think of a new strategy, but they’re still losing, and everyone knows it. For example, a few recent articles by abortion supporters: “It’s not just Hobby Lobby: the pro-life movement is winning,” “Ten reasons women are losing while gays keep winning,” Pro-life movement winning the battle over abortion, birth control accessibility.”

:)

Pro-life blog buzz 11-11-14

pro-lifeby Susie Allen, host of the blog, Pro-Life in TN, and Kelli

  • Pro-Life Action League reports on the now-closed All Women’s Health in Chicago, run by abortionist Mandy Gittler (who was responsible for the death of Tonya Reaves at a Chicago Planned Parenthood). All Women’s has been accused of scamming women who visited for pap smears and health exams.
  • Real Choice chronicles one of over a dozen known deaths from National Abortion Federation clinics from 1970-2004. This case, from 1994, details the death of a high school senior who was 17 weeks pregnant. Records show that the abortionist did the entire second trimester abortion in three minutes, which (understandably) contributed to the young woman’s “safe and legal abortion” death.

andymoore

  • Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust profiles Andy Moore (pictured left) from New Zealand, now transplanted to the United States and married to the daughter of Jill Stanek. Andy’s commitment and talents show why the pro-life movement is winning.
  • ProWomanProLife says Canada could learn something from the UK about human rights:

    It remains appallingly controversial in Canada to state in Parliament that killing female pre-born children simply because they are female is wrong. Canada, we can learn something from the UK about human rights. Wake up and get with the times.

  • John Smeaton posts on the plight of Scottish midwives who are having to defend their refusal to participate in abortions.
  • Saynsumthn’s Blog posts a video of Steve Hofstetter, humor columnist for SportsIllustrated.com and other publications, joking about pushing a pregnant woman down a flight of stairs. Is this today’s version of gallows humor?
  • Hormonal contraception may be relatively cheap in dollars and cents, but ProLife365 counts the other costs of birth control which aren’t often discussed.
  • Wesley J. Smith points out how schizophrenic we have become in dealing with the issue of assisted suicide. The UK, which opposes the death penalty, is considering setting up suicide courts where a person could petition a judge for authorization to have a doctor prescribe a lethal dose to end his/her life. Smith quotes The Independent:

    Judges could routinely be given the power of life or death over patients who are determined to die to end their suffering. Proposals to use judges as the final arbiters of who can be helped to die go some way to satisfying opponents to Lord Falconer’s Assisted Dying Bill. Lord Pannick QC proposed judicial oversight in amendments to the Bill which went before the House of Lords yesterday. The Lords, in the first Parliamentary vote on the Bill, gave it their approval.

jack-hibbs

  • Live Action News profiles a non-denominational evangelical pastor from Calvary Chapel Chino Hills in Southern California, who declared boldly that he will go to jail before funding abortion:

    Senior Pastor Jack Hibbs – a strong pro-life proponent – has encouraged his congregation to uphold religious values and fundamental liberties in the public square. Now, the church is opposing a California mandate egregiously imposed on religious institutions across the Golden State. The congregation is challenging a decision by the California Department of Managed Healthcare that forces all employers, including churches, to provide coverage for elective abortions in all health insurance plans.

    We have heard much about the power of the pulpits during the recent election. Could this be an awakening?

[Photo of Andy Moore by Brice Griffin via Facebook; photo of Jack Hibbs via calvaryrevive.com]

Churches file federal complaint to stop CA from forcing abortion insurance coverage

Central-Baptist-HattiesburgDuring U.S. Supreme Court arguments on the Hobby Lobby case, liberals mocked Justice Kennedy for asking the Obama administration’s lawyer whether its contraception mandate could also force for-profit companies to cover abortions in their insurance policies.

Only five months later liberals have taken this to the unimaginable extreme: On August 22, the California Department of Managed Health Care announced that all employers offering health insurance – not just for-profit but also nonprofit, religious institutions, and churches – had to provide coverage for all elective abortions.

How it happened

Last fall the ACLU, working with pro-abortion employees at two Catholic universities in California, filed a complaint with DMHC demanding the schools offer abortion insurance. The employees won. DMHC suddenly decided abortion fell under under a 40-year-old California law requiring employers to cover “basic health care services.”

DMHC notified California insurance companies, which began notifying companies. Here is one such insurance letter sent to a church. Click to enlarge…

California demands churches cover abortion in insurance plans

In September, Life Legal Defense Foundation and Alliance Defending Freedom filed a federal complaint with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services on behalf of pro-life employees from those universities who oppose abortion coverage in their insurance plans.

Churches respond

Yesterday, the two pro-life organizations filed a new federal complaint with HHS on behalf of seven California churches that do not want to cover abortions in their employee insurance plans.

As letters from insurance companies roll out, more churches are sure to join this complaint, if necessary.

The action taken by DMHC directly violates the federal Weldon Amendment, which states no federal funds will be dispensed to any government agency that discriminates against any health care entity for not covering abortions.

California, of course, receives billions of dollars annually from the federal government, which should immediately shut off the funding spigot to the state for this gross violation.

HHS is responsible to enforce the Weldon Amendment.

There is no time table under which HHS is obligated to respond.

If HHS doesn’t stop DMHC in a timely manner, Casey Mattox of ADF told me in a phone interview today the churches will consider filing legal action.

Too crazy to be true – not

“What’s really frightening is that when you think of worst case scenarios, this goes beyond that,” said Mattox. “Progressives will always progress. Now they want churches to pay for abortions. Where will they go next? Nothing will satisfy them.”

Mattox said it’s time to wake up. “It’s not as if abortion zealots are going to look around one day and decide they have pushed their agenda far enough, Mattox said. “They ‘re going to keep pushing, and people who respect conscience and life have to fight back just as hard.”

Mattox noted that letters from insurance companies are trickling out, and some carriers may never notify a church about the new abortion normal, so many are still unaware.

“This is all so crazy it’s difficult to convince churches they’re now covering abortions,” noted Mattox. “But California churches must be proactive and call their insurance companies to confirm.”

If you represent a California church and would like to join the federal complaint, contact Mattox at www.alliancedefendingfreedom.org/legal-help  or 1-800-Tell-ADF, or LLDF’s Catherine Short at info@LLDF.org or 1-707-224-6675.

Help needed from pro-life/conscience legislators

Kevin McCarthy pls help stop California from forcing churches to provide abortion insurance!In addition, California state legislators and members of Congress need to step up to the plate to stop this gross violation of the First Amendment.

Republican Kevin McCarthy represents California’s 23rd District and was just elected Majority Leader of the House.

Legislators like McCarthy are urged to tell DMHC to stop the insanity, or tell the Executive Branch to enforce the Weldon Amendment.

Obamacare maternity benefits get a mixed review

obamacareby Carder

Some of the free preventive care would probably help some. But a 62-year-old woman doesn’t need maternity. She doesn’t need abortion.

~ Medicare beneficiary Ted Baumgartner, giving a mixed review of the “benefits” of Obamacare after spending more than 80 hours online attempting to sign up his wife on the insurance exchanges, ABC News, January 1

[HT: Hot Air]

Pro-life blog buzz 12-13-13

by Susie Allen, host of the blog, Pro-Life in TN, and Kelli

We welcome your suggestions for additions to our Top Blogs (see tab on right side of home page)! Email Susie@jillstanek.com.

  • ProWomanProLife showcases an article about the death of a young woman who used the NuvaRing contraceptive. Her lawyer now fights for justice against the manufacturer, which touts its product as being easy — but buried in the fine print of thousands of pages sent to the FDA are the results of 500 studies which included blood clots and death.

ashley

  • ProLife NZ has a truly wonderful story about an RU-486 reversal. Ashley, at age 20, became pregnant and was pressured to get an abortion. Thankfully, she and her daughter Kaylie are alive and unharmed today – flourishing, in fact.
  • At Pro-Life Action League, Ann Scheidler comments on the abortion industry’s tactics to force employers to pay for abortifacients, now in cases before the Supreme Court. The current propaganda is that women will be denied the use of birth control by their bosses. PLAL wonders when it becomes the responsibility of your employer to pay for your birth control.

    Of course, nothing could be further from the truth. The lawsuits challenge the government’s right to force the employer to pay for a woman’s birth control in her employer-provided health insurance. No one is telling women that they can’t walk down to the corner Walgreens and buy whatever birth control they want….

    What a sad commentary on womanhood. I find it so frustrating and truly disappointing that all the feminist movement has come to is contraception and abortion. It is bad enough that feminist leaders campaign for abortion on demand and free birth control, but it is a real indictment of 21st century women that they buy this definition of themselves.

nelson-mandela

  • Alveda King of Priests for Life wishes she would have discussed her pro-life conversion with Nelson Mandela:

    I feel that I failed him by not reaching out to him and trying to get with him and sit down and have a talk about my transformation. How I came from thinking that it was okay to abort a child to knowing that it was wrong because it that’s a sacred human life. I failed but I pray that I don’t fail millions of others and I pray that that message will continue to resonate across the globe.

  • At Life Training Institute, Jay Watts discusses Joseph Dellapenna’s book, Dispelling the Myths of Abortion History. Part 2 here.
  • Right to Life of Michigan says pro-lifers gave an overwhelming response to a legislative calling campaign and Tweetfest on the Abortion Insurance Opt Out Act:

    Thanks to a great swell of grassroots lobbying effort, our message about voting on the Abortion Insurance Opt Out Act has been heard loud and clear in Lansing. Support for the measure is stronger than ever. There is no doubt in anyone’s mind at the Capitol that our initiated legislation has the votes to become law!

    Even Politico noticed:

    Michigan could become the 24th state to ban most abortions in exchange plans this week, after an unusual citizens’ petition drive that allows state lawmakers to resurrect a bill the governor had vetoed and vote it into law without his signature….

    Michigan legislators are expected to take a second stab at a ban this week. Gov. Rick Snyder, a Republican, vetoed it the first time. Anti-abortion activists collected more than 315,000 signatures to allow the legislature to take it up again, and if it passes it would become law without Snyder’s signature, under a provision in the state constitution.

[Mandela photo via melty.fr]

Pro-life news brief 12-5-13

by JivinJ, host of the blog, JivinJehoshaphat

  • Jorge Martin-Santana, a medical assistant at a Sacramento Planned Parenthood, has been charged with sexual battery for allegedly touching a patient inappropriately in October.
  • A Washington city may pull a grant from a family resource center which provides information directing women to abortion-referring clinics.
  • Notorious abortionist Steven Brigham is back in the news after New Jersey prosecutors revealed that Brigham lied under oath about whether he had malpractice insurance.:

    Now, as Brigham, 57, tries to regain his license, New Jersey prosecutors have submitted evidence that his sworn statement was yet another lie. They allege that not only did he stop carrying required liability insurance around 2006, but last month produced a phony insurance policy when forced to back up the statement.

    The Bermuda-based company that purportedly issued his policy was itself a sham. It has not issued policies since 2006, when the company operator went to jail for insurance fraud and money laundering, according to legal papers filed Nov. 27 by New Jersey Deputy Attorney General Jeri L. Warhaftig.

    “Brigham also produced a fraudulent receipt for payment for a policy issued by” the sham company, Warhaftig wrote.

Chris Smith

  • ABC covered Rep. Chris Smith’s (pictured left) announcement that the vast majority of health plans offered to Congress and their staffers include abortion coverage:

    The disclosure Wednesday by abortion opponent Rep. Chris Smith, R-N.J., also highlights an emerging issue nationally: It may be hard for individual consumers to determine whether abortion is a covered benefit in plans offered through the new online insurance markets.

    For government insiders, there’s another twist: Lawmakers and their staffs now appear to be the only federal employees with access to abortion coverage through their government-supported health insurance plans.

    Smith said only nine of the 112 insurance plans offered to members of Congress and their staffs through the Washington, D.C., insurance market exclude abortion as a covered benefit.

[Photo via catholicfire.blogspot.com]

Ponnuru: HHS Mandate contradicts Religious Freedom Restoration Act

by Kelli

ponnuruFrom reading the New York Times, you might think that religious conservatives had started a culture war over whether company health-insurance plans should cover contraception. What’s at issue in two cases the Supreme Court has just agreed to hear, the Times editorializes, is “the assertion by private businesses and their owners of an unprecedented right to impose the owners’ religious views on workers who do not share them.”

That way of looking at the issue will be persuasive if your memory does not extend back two years. Up until 2012, no federal law or regulation required employers to cover contraception (or drugs that may cause abortion, which one of the cases involves)….

What’s actually new here is the Obama administration’s 2012 regulation requiring almost all employers to cover contraception, sterilization and drugs that may cause abortion….

The regulation runs afoul of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, a Clinton-era law. That act says that the government may impose a substantial burden on the exercise of religious belief only if it’s the least restrictive way to advance a compelling governmental interest. The act further says that no later law should be read to trump this protection unless it explicitly says it’s doing that. The Affordable Care Act has no such language.

Is a marginal increase in access to contraception a compelling interest, and is levying steep fines on employers who refuse to provide it for religious reasons the least burdensome way to further it? It seems doubtful.

~ Ramesh Ponnuru, Bloomberg, December 1